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World Teams 2017 - Player's performance from coach's perspective

by Sagar Shah - 10 July 2017

The World Teams 2017 came to an end two weeks ago. The Indian teams did well to finish fourth in both open and women's section. We missed out the medal just by a whisker. But one thing was clear, no opposition could take the Indian team lightly. Who were the best performers at the event, what was the analysis of this result and what were the lessons learnt? ChessBase India got in touch with R.B. Ramesh and the Indian coach spoke about the performance of each player.

The Indian team consisted of (from left to right): Parimarjan Negi, coach R.B. Ramesh, Sasikiran Krishnan, B. Adhiban, Karthikeyan Murali and Vidit Gujrathi

The women's team consisting of (Left to right): Padmini Rout, Harika Dronavalli, Eesha Karavade, S. Vijayalakshmi and Tania Sachdev with Ramesh

Coach Ramesh gives a break down of how the Indian team performed. He even speaks about the team strategy and how the board order was decided. Although he wasn't the coach of the women's team, having him around surely made a positive impact.

In Ramesh we have found a coach who can help the players to maintain their confidence and belief in such crucial official events.
All that is written in inverted commas ("...") has been spoken by Ramesh.

1. Vidit Gujrathi

Vidit Gujrathi played on the top board, beat Wojtaszek and scored eight draws. 5.0/9 without any defeats.

"Vidit was better or close to winning in all the games that he played but could win only the first round game against Wojtaszek. In the last few rounds he was taking too much pressure perhaps to convert those advantages into a win but sadly, it was not meant to be. He shouldered the responsibility of top board very well. Did not take any rest and fought till the last in every game. Mightily impressed."


Here's Vidit's best game from the tournament, his win against Radoslaw Wojtaszek from round one:

[Event "11th World Teams 2017"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2017.06.17"]
[Round "1.1"]
[White "Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi"]
[Black "Wojtaszek, Radoslaw"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A14"]
[WhiteElo "2692"]
[BlackElo "2730"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "2017.06.17"]
[WhiteTeam "India"]
[BlackTeam "Poland"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "IND"]
[BlackTeamCountry "POL"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. c4 O-O 6. Ne5 $5 {A fresh idea!
The knight moves again, but it opens up the bishop and also keeps an eye on
the c4 pawn. White will try and follow it up with d4.} (6. d4 {is the normal
move. But perhaps Vidit was tired of the 20-move theory!}) 6... c5 (6... Nbd7
7. d4 c6 8. Nc3 Nxe5 9. dxe5 Nd7 10. cxd5 exd5 11. f4 Re8 12. Be3 Bc5 13. Bxc5
Nxc5 14. Qd2 f6 15. exf6 Qxf6 16. b4 Ne4 17. Nxe4 dxe4 18. Qe3 a5 19. b5 cxb5
20. Qb3+ Kh8 21. Qxb5 Qd4+ 22. Kh1 Bg4 23. Rae1 Qd2 24. h3 Be6 25. a3 Qe3 26.
Kh2 b6 27. f5 Bf7 28. f6 g6 29. Rc1 Kg8 30. Rc7 Rf8 31. Re7 Qxa3 32. Qg5 {
1-0 (32) Giri,A (2785)-So,W (2815) INT 2017}) 7. cxd5 exd5 8. e3 Qd6
$6 (8... Nc6 {would not have been such a bad idea. Perhaps Vidit would then go}
9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. d3 $13 {And the idea could be to gang up on the d3 pawn.} Ba6
11. Qc2 {[%cal Gb1d2,Gd2b3]}) 9. d4 cxd4 $6 (9... Nc6 $11) 10. exd4 Be6 11. Nc3
$14 {The queen is not happy on d6. The bishop may come out to f4. White has
harmonious development. Something has gone terribly wrong for Wojtaszek.} Qb6
12. Re1 Nc6 13. Na4 Qd8 14. Nxc6 bxc6 15. Bf4 $14 Re8 16. Rc1 Bd7 17. Nc5 Bf5
18. Re5 Bc8 (18... Bg6 19. Qa4 $16) 19. Qa4 Bd7 {Radoslaw has absolutely no
idea about what he is doing.} 20. Nxd7 Nxd7 21. Re2 g5 22. Bd2 Nb6 23. Qxc6 {
White has not only won a pawn, but the black kingside is also in ruins.} Rc8
24. Qh6 Rxc1+ 25. Bxc1 f6 26. Bh3 Bf8 27. Rxe8 {A fine win by Vidit, who made
absolutely no errors.} (27. Rxe8 Qxe8 28. Qxf6 $1 Qe1+ 29. Kg2 Qxc1 30. Be6#)

2. Adhiban

"Adhiban was on board two. He started off with two losses in a row and India lost both the matches! But we thought it will be better if we can get back Adhiban in good form as soon as possible. We wanted him to be ready when we played the stronger teams. And he justified the team's trust by winning next three games. India also won those three matches and we were back into the tournament medal hunt again."


It was not so easy to choose Adhiban's best game from the event. His win against Varuzhan Akobian was great, but perhaps much more crucial and well played game was the one against Anton Korobov.

[Event "11th World Teams 2017"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2017.06.24"]
[Round "7.2"]
[White "Adhiban, Baskaran"]
[Black "Korobov, Anton"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C11"]
[WhiteElo "2670"]
[BlackElo "2711"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "2017.06.17"]
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qd2
O-O 9. dxc5 (9. O-O-O c4 {is supposed to give Black a very strong attack on
the queenside. And hence before 0-0-0 White takes on c5.}) 9... Nxc5 10. O-O-O
Qa5 11. Kb1 Rd8 12. Nd4 Bf8 13. g4 {Adhiban's play has been very logical. He
has 0-0-0, put his knight on d4 to prevent Black from playing d4 and now
begins with his kingside expansion.} Bd7 14. h4 Rab8 {This is the tough moment
in the game. White has to decide on what course of action he would like to
take in the game now. Would he like to indulge in a race with h5-h6 and Black
coming down with b5-b4 or he would like to play an endgame, like Adhiban did
in the game.} 15. Nce2 $5 {Objectively not the best move, but Adhiban surely
must have some psychological objectives in mind when he made this move.} Qxd2
16. Rxd2 Ne4 17. Rd1 Nxd4 18. Bxd4 (18. Nxd4 Ng3) 18... b6 19. Bg2 Bb5 20. Rhe1
Bb4 (20... Nc5 {After what happened in the game I was thinking if this was a
better option, but I think White can just go} 21. Be3 $14 {Put the knight on
d4 and be better.}) 21. c3 Be7 22. Bxe4 dxe4 23. g5 {Well White is not better
in this position yet, but Black has to be careful. White is threatening Ng3,
and there would not be a good way to save the e4 pawn.} Bd3+ (23... Rbc8 $5 24.
Kc1 $5 (24. Ng3 Bd3+ 25. Ka1 Bb4 $1 26. Nxe4 (26. Re3 Rxd4 27. cxd4 Bd2 $1 $15)
26... Rxd4 27. cxd4 Bxe1 28. Nd6 Rc2 29. Rxe1 Rh2 $132) 24... h6 25. Kd2 hxg5
26. hxg5 $14 {I still get the feeling that with Ke3 and Ng3 White is just
better.}) 24. Kc1 h5 {[%cal Gc1d2,Gd2e3,Ge2g3,Gg3e4] The question on my mind
is - why h5? The battle is revolving around the e4 pawn, what would be the
reason for Korobov to make a move like h5? Well, I think he was tempting
Adhiban to go for Ng3. So h5 was more like a trap.} (24... a5 25. Kd2 a4 26.
Ke3 Bc4 27. a3 $16 {This is the problem for Black. He will lose the e4 pawn
without any compensation.}) 25. Kd2 $1 {A strong move by Adhiban. He sees
through his opponent's plans. Now Ng3 is a strong threat. Also Ke3 just
strengthening the position is possible.} (25. Ng3 Rxd4 $1 26. cxd4 Rc8+ 27. Kd2
Bb4+ 28. Ke3 Bxe1 29. Rxe1 Rc2 30. Nxe4 Bxe4 31. Kxe4 Rxb2 $11 {And the game
would most probably ended in a draw.}) 25... Bc5 {Well, this move is really
not a good idea, but I think Black was already short of ideas in the position.}
26. Ke3 Rbc8 (26... Bxe2 27. Rxe2 Bxd4+ 28. Rxd4 Rxd4 29. cxd4 (29. Kxd4 Rd8+
30. Kxe4 Rd1 {with good drawing chances.}) 29... Rc8 30. Kxe4 g6 {Once again,
White will push here, but I think draw is a possibility.}) 27. Bxc5 Rxc5 (27...
bxc5 28. Ng3 $16) 28. Ng3 Rcd5 (28... g6 29. Nxe4 $18) 29. Nxh5 {The bad news
for Black at this point is that the e4 pawn is still weak and he is a pawn
down!} Bc4 30. Rd4 $1 Bxa2 31. Ra1 Rxd4 32. cxd4 Bd5 33. Rxa7 g6 34. Rd7 $1 {
A nice finishing stroke. The knight will pick up all the pawns! A controlled
and matured game by Adhiban. It's really tough to say where Korobov went wrong
in the game.} 1-0

3. Karthikeyan Murali:

Ramesh with Karthikeyan Murali 

"The two-time National Champion was fielded on board three and he took the responsibility well. Karthikeyan lost from a better position in round one against Piorun Kacper of Poland in time trouble. He played a very good game though. He helped in the preparation of all the players of the team and was coming up with interesting novelties in all the lines!"

4. Sasikiran Krishnan

"Sasi brings loads of experience and top level opening preparation to the team. He had just won the Capablanca memorial in Cuba few days before the World team and he was completely jet lagged in the first two days. We were all under jet lag on the first day and recovered. Sasi remained unbeaten like Vidit and could have won his games against Wei Yi of China, Maxim Matlakov of Russia and Lars Oskar Hauge of Norway after winning a pawn in all those games. Somehow his famous technique did not work well here and he drew all of them. But he did give some crucial wins for the team."


Sasi's best game was surely his win over Ray Robson in which he showed some phenomenal opening preparation:

[Event "11th World Teams 2017"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2017.06.20"]
[Round "4.3"]
[White "Sasikiran, Krishnan"]
[Black "Robson, Ray"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D45"]
[WhiteElo "2669"]
[BlackElo "2656"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2017.06.17"]
[WhiteTeam "India"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "IND"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O
dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Be2 Bb7 11. a3 a5 (11... a6 {is the main move.}) 12. e4 e5
13. Rd1 Qc7 {The players are following the game Nakamura vs Giri from July
2016.} 14. dxe5 $5 {There is only one game which has seen this move. It was a
correspondence game between Otspere and Narozhny. Sasi must have surely
studied it.} Nxe5 15. Nd4 Neg4 (15... Bc5 16. Bf4 Bxd4 17. Rxd4 Nf3+ 18. Bxf3
Qxf4 19. Ne2 Qe5 20. Rc1 Rfe8 21. g3 Rac8 22. Qc5 g6 23. Bg2 Qxc5 24. Rxc5 Rcd8
25. Re5 Kf8 26. Rxe8+ Rxe8 27. f3 c5 28. Rd6 Nd5 29. Rd7 Re7 30. Rxe7 Nxe7 31.
Kf2 b4 {1/2-1/2 (31) Otspere,U (2209)-Narozhny,Y (2334) ICCF email 2013}) 16.
Bxg4 {Sasi quickly picked up the bishop and Robson sank into deep thought.
Should he take the h2 pawn or the bishop on g4. After some time he grabbed the
pawn on h2, which is the correct move.} Bxh2+ (16... Nxg4 17. h3 $14) 17. Kf1
Nxg4 18. g3 {This is once again part of the preparation by Sasi.} f5 (18...
Bxg3 {looked more natural.} 19. fxg3 {Now Qxg3 is met with Qg2, hence Black
has to be disruptive.} b4 20. Nd5 Qxg3 21. Ne7+ Kh8 22. Qg2 $13 {It's a crazy
line, but Sasi has it all worked out and for Robson to find all the resources
for Black on the board is next to an impossible task.}) 19. Bf4 Qf7 20. Nxf5
Qh5 $2 {This is the decisive mistake of the game. Although at first it might
not really be apparent.} (20... g6 {It was important to play this move.} 21. f3
$5 (21. Nd6 Qe6 {is complicated. Black is looking to take on g3 here. And
after that fxg3 would be met with Qxd6 and Bxg3 with Ne3+.} 22. Kg2 g5 $5 23.
Be3 Nxe3+ 24. fxe3 Bxg3 25. Kxg3 Rf3+ $1 26. Kxf3 Qh3+ 27. Ke2 Qh2+ 28. Kd3
Qxd6+ 29. Ke2 Qh2+ $11 {And Black holds the balance.}) 21... Bxg3 22. Bxg3 Ne3+
23. Nxe3 Qxf3+ 24. Kg1 Qxg3+ 25. Ng2 $14) 21. Rd7 Rxf5 22. exf5 Qh3+ 23. Ke1
Re8+ 24. Kd2 {The king is safe on d2 and White is already a lot of material up.
} Bc8 25. Qb3+ Kh8 26. Qf7 (26. Rd6 $18 {would have been stronger.}) 26... Bxd7
27. Re1 Rg8 (27... Rd8 28. Qe7 Rg8 29. Qxd7 $18) 28. Qxd7 Nxf2 29. Re8 h5 (
29... h6 30. Rxg8+ Kxg8 31. Qe8+ Kh7 32. f6 $1 gxf6 33. Qf7+ Kh8 34. Qxf6+ Kg8
35. Qg6+ Kf8 36. Bd6#) 30. Rxg8+ Kxg8 31. Qe8+ Kh7 32. Qg6+ Kg8 33. Qe8+ Kh7
34. f6 $1 {It's all over.} Ng4 35. Qe4+ Kg8 36. Qe6+ Kh7 37. f7 Bxg3 38. f8=Q {
A great win for Sasi, who completely outplayed Robson in the forests of Meran.}

5. Parimarjan Negi

"We were not sure about the form or lack of it of Parimarjan Negi, since he has not been that active in the last few years due to his education at Stanford University. So we fielded him on board five. It gave us the additional option of playing Sasikiran with more whites on board 3 and 4 as the situation demanded. We wanted to know how Negi will adapt to the tournament so we fielded him more."

"Negi is studying at the Stanford University and came out of his semi retirement for this event. He was played in all the early games. Initially he looked little rusty but with each game, he was getting better and regaining his old Magic. He was pretty solid and played many black games so Sasikiran could take the whites and put pressure on the opponents. Negi's only loss to Fedoseev from Russia was tragic as he had equalised and was beginning to put some pressure when he went for a dubious Nxb6 and got into defensive and lost. One can say that he was playing an anchor's role on the last board for the team."

The crucial match with Russia that changed Indian fortunes

A win against Russia in the 8th round would have ensured Silver for India but it was not meant to be this time. We will get it for sure in the near future with such tremendous young talents.

Rank Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 MP Pts.
1 CHINA * 2 2 16 24½
2 RUSSIA * 3 2 3 4 3 15 25
3 POLAND 1 * 3 3 3 12 20½
4 INDIA * 2 3 11 20½
5 TURKEY 2 2 2 * 2 1 3 10 18½
6 UKRAINE 1 2 * 2 3 8 17½
7 BELARUS ½ 1 1 2 * 2 8 17½
8 UNITED STATES 2 0 ½ 3 2 * 3 8 16
9 NORWAY ½ 1 1 1 ½ * 2 11
10 EGYPT ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 * 0 9

For individual performances of players of India team, just go to this page and click on names of the players to see how they fared. 

Women's team:

(The captions of all the images are words of R.B. Ramesh)

Harika had a mixed kind of tournament and struggled at times but managed to make draws from both good and bad positions.

She scored 3.5/7 points and her performance was close to her rating. Both Harika and Tania saw to it that there was no damage on the top boards by handling the top players in other teams.

Eesha Karavade did not do well in the initial rounds but started getting better from the middle of the tournament onwards. She won some good games and increasing close to 10 elo points.

Padmini Rout was easily the player for India along with Eesha. Padmini played some enterprising chess and against China. For example, when India desperately needed a win, she fought and got it for India. Huge potential in her.

We (ChessBase India) asked Padmini about how she does it - winning under pressure. She said, "When the position is equal you cannot do much so you just have to see if there is something you can play for. Both the games once I got extra pawns I was confident of winning. Against China it was all the more important since it would tie the match."


She also added, "We all had lots of fun, all our rooms were nearby and in like a separate block altogether, like in a house. Food was also nice. Overall we had a great ambience in the team!"

The senior most player in the Indian team with six national women titles under he belt. It was great to have her back in the Indian team. She played good quality games and lost a game having an extra piece! Otherwise her performance would have been even better than it was.
Rank Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 MP Pts.
1 RUSSIA * 3 3 3 2 3 2 16 25½
2 CHINA 1 * 2 2 3 3 2 3 13 22
3 GEORGIA ½ * 2 2 3 3 3 4 12 21½
4 INDIA 1 2 2 * 3 3 12 20
5 UKRAINE 1 2 * 2 3 12 19½
6 POLAND ½ 1 2 2 * 2 9 18½
7 UNITED STATES 2 1 1 2 * 2 2 6 16½
8 VIETNAM 1 1 1 2 * 4 5 16
9 AZERBAIJAN 2 2 1 1 ½ 2 * 4 5 15½
10 EGYPT ½ 1 0 1 ½ ½ 0 0 * 0 5

For individual performances of players of India team, just go to this page and click on names of the players to see how they fared. 


Previous reports on World Teams 2017:

ChessBase India covered the event extensively, bringing you updates of the Indian players in Khanty Mansiysk. Here are the list of reports:

India has excellent chances at World Teams 2017

From Moscow with love

Opening ceremony of World Teams 2017

Live Games from the World Teams 2017

Round one: Viji's unbelievable miss

Round two: Tania powers team India to a win over USA

Round three: The tale of two Hedgehogs

R1-3 on Firstpost: World Team Chess Championship 2017: Vidit Gujrathi shows mettle, but India blunder in initial rounds

Round four: Indian explosion in Khanty Mansiysk

Round five: Egypt gives Indian a scare

Round six: Deadlock with Turkey

R4-6 on Firstpost: World Team Chess Championship 2017: India falter after initial spark in both men's, women's sections

Round seven: Adhiban! Adhiban!

Round eight: Eesha's supercharged king beats Vietnam

Round nine: China wins open, Russia wins women, India impresses

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